Missal (Lat. Missale), the mass book of the Roman Catholic church, containing the daily eucharistic service for the whole year. During the first eight centuries the parts to be recited or sung by the bishop or priest, the deacon, subdeacon, and choir, were arranged in separate volumes. The sacramentary, or missal proper, contained what immediately related to the consecration of the eucharist (the sacrament by preeminence), such as the canon, with the prefaces and collects; the evangelary or deacon's book contained either one of the four gospels, or all four in a volume, or only the passages selected and arranged for daily mass; the lec-tionary or epistolary contained the lessons from the other portions of the Bible which were sung by the subdeacon; in the antiphona-ry or gradual were found the anthems, psalms, and hymns chanted by the choir throughout the service; and in the benedictional were the solemn forms of benediction pronounced over the people before communion on the great festivals. St. Jerome, by order of Pope Damasus, collected the four gospels into one volume, with tables indicating the passages for daily use. The deacon's and subdeacon's books soon contained respectively only the tabulated gospels and lessons of the daily mass.
The evangelary in particular was often splendidly illuniinated, and its rich cover was adorned with precious stones. The most ancient known is that of Yrercelli, said to have been entirely written by St. Eusebius, bishop of that city (died about 370). - In the 9th century (see Liturgy) all those separate parts were united in one volume, called plenary missal, the use of which was made obligatory in all churches. The evan-gelary, lectionary, and antiphonary have been continued in separate volumes, for the convenience of the inferior ministers and the choir. The Roman missal consists of three principal parts: 1, the Proprium Missarumde Tempore, containing the formularies for the masses of the Sundays; 2, the Proprium Mlssarum de Sanctis, containing special formularies of mass for the festivals of several saints; 3, the Commune Sanctorum, containing general formularies for classes of saints (as apostles, martyrs, confessors, &c), serving as an appendix to the second part for such saints as have no special service assigned them.
The Ordo Missce, containing that part of the mass which is invariable, is inserted in the first part of the missal between Saturday of Passion week and Easter. (Concerning the Ambrosian, Mozarabic, and Gallican missals, see Liturgy.) Some dioceses and religious orders have in an appendix special formularies for the masses of certain favorite saints; but the congregation of rites, to which belongs the direction of liturgic matters, discountenances everything that tends to lessen uniformity. - See the Rev. Daniel Rock, Hie-rurgia (2 vols., London, 1833; 2d ed., 1 vol., 1851), and "The Church of our Fathers, as seen in St. Osmond's Rite for the Cathedral of Salisbury" (3 vols., London, 1849).